Press Release
September 14, 2011

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago's statement on the recent Supreme Court ruling on the ARMM elections


The Constitution, Article 10 Section 8 provides: "The term of office of elective local officials , . . . shall be three years . . . ."

The Supreme Court in the 1991 case of Osmeña v. Comelec cited American cases from both Corpus Juris and American Jurisprudence to rule against holdover, thus: "It is not competent for the legislature to extend the term of officers by providing that they should hold over until their successors are elected and qualified, where the Constitution has in effect or by clear implication prescribed the term." And again: "The legislature cannot, by an act postponing the election to file an office the term of which is limited by the Constitution, extend the term of the incumbent beyond the period as limited by the Constitution."

Since the Supreme Court prohibits holdovers, how should ensuing vacant public offices be filled? The Supreme Court ruled that such vacancies should be filled by the President, in the 1991 case of Menzon v. Petilla (197 SCRA 251). In that case, the Court noted that existing laws gave to the President the power to make temporary appointments in certain appointive offices, pursuant to his power of general supervision over local governments. The Court ruled: "However, in the absence of any contrary provision in the Local Government Code and in the interest of public service, we see no cogent reason why" the power of presidential appointment should not be exercised.

News Latest News Feed